Yesterday was my 1 year anniversary and today marks the beginning of a second year as a recycled bachelor… I feel like I’m starting a conversation in one of those group therapy meetings…
“Hi, everybody. My name is Kevin, and I’ve been divorced for one year now.”
It’s definitely been a year of growth, experiences, opportunity, and discovery. I’ve been faced with weaknesses and simultaneously found strengths I never knew I had. Life still has me on a roller coaster, but I’m enjoying the ride much more now than when it started. Not the ride has gotten any slower or has less bumps and curves in it, rather because I have developed great and meaningful friendships with people who are on this ride with me. They are there with me during the exciting and thrilling parts of the ride to laugh and smile with, and help me build confidence and courage as I head into or come out of the parts that throw me spinning. I have incredible friends through this experience who all mean a lot to me, and look forward to the day I find that friend that will mean everything to me. In the mean time, I want to enjoy life and wouldn’t mind helping make it possible for others to find a little more joy in life as well.
While this website and the FB group have only been publicly known of since October, it’s something I was slowly building up from the moment I was thrust into the singles world and noticed how difficult it is to find anything to do in East Idaho if you’re in that Mid-Singles LDS category. The more I hear from others, it becomes more apparent that there is such a desire to do more as a group, but very few take it upon themselves to put together events and activities. I would love to see more events being planned. When I say more, I mean more variety. It seems we’ve gotten in a rut of just doing dances that very few people attend (when compared against the statistics on singles in the area) and volleyball/game nights that even fewer attend. I’m not saying those should end, rather let’s mix things up a little!!! When I hear Apostles speak of avoiding mediocrity, I think about how comfortable we’ve become as singles in this area with our 7 dances/mo and 4 volleyball activities per month that we all keep seeing before us as our options. It’s so easy to keep a routine going, but are we really doing anything to help provide opportunities for singles who don’t enjoy those activities to get out and mingle?
We’re all adults, right?! So, do we need to just lean on the singles representatives to plan and come up with activities? I’m sure they would all appreciate input and feedback as to what kinds of events/activities you’d all enjoy. And, to that effect, do we need to have the church facilitate everything in order for us to decide to get out? I certainly don’t think so. I’ve been part of a few activities that were put together by individuals in the area that I really enjoyed.
Kelli Heiner Thompson and I really appreciated those who came out bowling last November when we planned our first activity. I’ve had a few people over to my house for games and hope to see other opportunities for more and more of us to get together from time to time to play games or hang out. Sophia Peterson has planned FHE activities and holiday parties for a group of single friends that keeps growing. Chandler Brown just has to get on the phone and text a handful of people, and a party or dance can get decent attendance. Todd Kennington has included me in a few activities at his place with a mix of YSA and mid-single aged singles and I know he always has something going on. Daren Ahlstrom tried starting a dance night, but shut things down due to lack of attendance. Now, Bret Yost and John Brian are putting on monthly dances/activities that I hope to see take off. There are thousands of single adults in East Idaho, so I am sure there are more people like this who can put together really fun activities that don’t have to be awkward, like most of the dances seem to be accused of being for many who attend – due to age range, music selection and/or sparse attendance that is blamed.
From the church, I see LaDawn Walker, Michelle Harrington, Valerie Tietjen, and… Well, of all the singles reps in the area, these are the only ones I know of. I know a these ladies and others in charge of singles activities would love participation and support in getting more people out to activities. You can reach out to them through FB to share ideas that you feel they could do with the church’s support.
For other wholesome activities, but not necessarily something the church should have to or would be part of planning, USE ME!!! That’s right. Use me! Or, more specifically, use EastIdahoSingles.com or the FB Group. So long as I don’t see you advertising shoe sales, MLM businesses, etc, I would love to open admin rights to others on Facebook so they can plan and post their own events. You can invite all the group members, or just select those you want to invite. If you want it to appear on the website calendar, let me know so I can post it there as well.
Right now, the group numbers keeps hovering right around 175. Other similar purposed FB groups have about the same or up to about 370 (with a few lingering married people still attached). With the thousands of singles in East Idaho from 25 to 40-ish in age, I don’t see any reason why these groups should be so relatively small. People won’t join the groups or go out to the activities, though, if they just keep seeing the same things they aren’t interested in being planned over and over again. I look in envy at some of the activities the YSA groups plan in the area and joke that somehow crossing into the mid-singles group turned us into a bunch of boring adults who don’t know how to have fun any more. I enjoy getting out and meeting people at any event, but I enjoy meeting people at events that are really fun and well attended even more.
While I have plans to put together and collaborate on a few events over the next few months, I’m just one person. I’m a geek with a computer, who happens to know how to build a website and use Facebook to do marketing. I know there are many of you who have great ideas. Let me help you build awareness for those activities. Give it time to take off and be loud enough on the FB group wall to get enough attention to start drawing the crowds. You can’t be passive in getting singles out to events.
Moving forward this year, I’d really like to do my part in influencing some change in attitude among singles in the area. I wouldn’t call it negative, but would call it discouraged. Letting people be more informed on what to expect when going to an activity is the first part in making an event successful or not. The biggest issue I see right now is the lack of clarity in which events are for Singles (45+) and which are for Mid-Singles (31-45). The two groups have some overlap, but when mid-singles show up at a dance with music catered to the singles, they aren’t likely to keep coming back. Being a mid-single, myself, I’m more inclined to be concerned with and involved with activities for people within a decade either way of my age. But, the site and FB group are open to anyone to post anything singles related. I would just ask that you give the single adults out there the courtesy of spelling out a few details regarding the event.
- Age range being targeted
- Kid appropriate or not
- Music – Band or DJ and who?
- Date and Time (when it begins and ends)
- Location – Address and name of building. Not everyone knows where to go based on the ward or stake names. Addresses help! (If you want to keep a home address private, give instruction for people to message you privately on FB, or provide an email or phone number to use to reach you.)
- And, as many other details as you can provide
I even put together a form you can fill out to submit these events to me to post on the website. ALL of these are questions I get asked every single month about multiple events that lack details. People want to know what a movie is going to be during a singles movie night, if the music at a dance is going to be any good, or whether or not kids will be there so they can decide if it’s something they want to go to or not. If you’re a stake singles representative, please include me in your emails. With the unfortunate divorce rates, there are people seeking out opportunities to mingle with others they can relate to, and are faced with the same difficulty I was faced with a year ago in understanding where to go to find out about events and, more importantly, which activities were right for me. If you have me post an event (or post one yourself), pay attention to it so you can respond to questions that I guarantee potential attendees will post on the event wall. If you don’t answer their questions, it’s likely they won’t attend.
This is entirely a volunteer venture for me. I have commitments and obligations that don’t make it possible for me to attend or participate in everything that will appear on the website and FB group. That’s why it’s important more people get involved and begin making more things happen in the area. Like you, I’d love to be able to look online and see myriad opportunities for me to choose between when I do have that free moment come up. I would like to go to it without being responsible for setting up or tearing down, knowing I can just relax and have a good time. That’s why I am grateful to those who I’ve mentioned and others I may not be aware of who put in the time and effort to make things happen. Instead of going to UT or envying their multiple events each weekend, get with a few people and make something happen here! Show others that there are single adults in East Idaho who can have fun.
So, to conclude the group session today…
- What would kind of activities would you like to see happen?
- If you don’t think you could put it together on your own, who could you get involved?
- Who do you know that is suffering from cabin fever, but hasn’t been impressed with the options that are out there right now, and what would it take to get them out to an event?